There were times when this book was so harrowing, I had to put it down and take a break from the descriptions. Janine Di Giovanni does not shy away from painting a real picture (with interviews from real people) of the war in Syria. Torture, bombings, rape, murder... It is a tragic tale and one in which I feel more Americans should educate themselves. I do wish Giovanni had given more historical background of the war, the Arab Spring, and Assad himself. She takes off from the gate and writes in a way that assumes the reader has the same knowledge she does. In those times, the book can become confusing. But, she is a reporter, not a historian, so if you're not familiar with how and why the war started, you may find yourself doing some extra research while you read. Not necessarily a bad thing, but it can be frustrating at times.